How much am I worth to you?
This the question that He asks a thousand times in a thousand ways – both direct and indirect to every believer’s soul – and it sifts through me swiftly, weighing His worth within me like an inward scale. Always accurate.
How it exposes and cuts away at the blinders that obscure the disparity between my inward parts and my everyday words and actions. It’s a question sometimes gnawing, sometimes like abiding sweetness, yet always present.
How much do you love Me?
He continually presses the inquiry into every nook and cranny of my soul, even when I feel perplexed by the timing of His askings. In times when I am aching over feeling misunderstood, or in the midst of the sting of feeling rejection, He poses this question so directly. Insistently.
And I might object, “O Lord, You’ve not heard my prayer rightly. We’re not talking about my love for You but of my disappointment with all these other things.”
Still, He persists, “How much do you love Me?”
For He knows that wherever my treasure is, there my heart is also. And though my words are loud and my boastings boisterous when I sing, “Worthy is the Lamb,” and “With all my heart and soul and mind,” He presses past lofty words to their root systems down to every hidden affection and heart movement below.
He will provide every refining necessary to win over every slight and small affection to Himself. He sees the deepest movements that churn far beneath the words at surface. And He’s a jealous Husband who won’t relent until the depths of my inward affections are as one voice with the furthest outward words, thoughts and actions.
He knows that these present testings are not bringing to the surface a different subject but the same. Always the same.
Am I truly your treasure and reward?
It is the question that will cost me everything – but if answered rightly will ensure that I gain the All. It’s the question that measures me, sizes my affections up in a moment, and all the while shifts me toward the answer that will ultimately answer my every question.
Am I enough for you?
The question of His worth to my soul interfaces with every smallest aspect of my living and forges an impasse. For all things must either surrender and submit to this single affection or I must come into the difficult acknowledgement that I have a heart divided; I’ve somewhere along the way lost grasp of my First Love. For as He said, one cannot have two masters. Or two treasures. Or two first loves. Friendship with the world is, at all turns, enmity with God. And He refuses to let me live deceived if I, in fact, harbor divided affections unperceived.
When this question can in truth be answered with, “Jesus, You alone are my treasure. Your love is better than wine,” oh, the gain to be known by that heart, by that life!
If He is my gain, and Him alone, not just in words but in truth descending to the inmost being and hidden parts, I have found the secret to joy unspeakable and full of glory, to joy experienced and made full. I have found the treasure that is stored up in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy. I have found the reward that cannot be taken from me though all is taken from me – honor, position, favor, success before men, possessions, power or even my very life. For this love alone is the inextinguishable flame that even death cannot quench.
And thus, He’s always sifting through the heart – through my heart — to bring to the surface that which hinders and gets in the way of pure and unadulterated love. The enemies of love are many, coming in all shapes and sizes, but all are beneath the banner of “worldly gain.” All are made of what man esteems and calls valuable. And of them all, even those good and respectable things according to the measuring of men, He desires that we could say with Paul, “I count them as loss for the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things.” Or that we, like Mary, would so love Him and so count Him as our everything, that we would willingly and voluntarily pour out our all, our futures, our inheritances, all of our wealth without reserve over Him – even at the risk of men’s indignation, scorn and rebuke. It may cost everything, but the losses are not worthy to be compared with the gain.
“How much am I worth to you?” He asks, eyes glimmering with knowing His own value. Tearing open my affections, that my boasting might bleed pure and true, He penetrates every part of me.
And my heart says,
Even here, Jesus, in this little corner of the soul, in this area of my emotions and thoughts. Even where I wasn’t expecting You to probe, Your love is better than wine, better than all things. When I feel the pain of disappointment, or the hurt of misunderstanding, in the midst of that sting, Your lovingkindness is better than life. And I pour out my all, my everything, all that man esteems, like perfume upon You, my First Love. Let my boast bleed forth into a fragrant witness, my song a piercing and pure testament of Your infinite beauty and sweetness. Oh the incomparable excellence of knowing You. I count all else as loss. Let me gain YOU and I’ve gained the All.